Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

The Cloak of Religion, The Heart of Christ 1-24-2021

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Everyone likes to be around a success story. Some of these
disciples mentioned, Peter, Andrew, James, John: became very
successful apostles for Christ’s mission. They were not perfect,
but the Lord asked them to do a lot of good to build up the
Kingdom of God.
One of the early disciples was not very successful. No one
wanted to be around him. Very few books were written about him,
“Judas, the Traitor”. I really believe there is something we can
learn from Judas.
I’ve wondered at times what kind of man this Judas was.
What he looked like, how he acted, who his friends were. I guess
I’ve stereotyped him. I’ve always pictured him as a wiry, beady-
eyed, sly, wormy fellow, pointed beard and all. I’ve pictured him
as estranged from the other apostles. Friendless. Distant.
Undoubtedly he was a traitor and a weasel. Probably the result of
a broken home. A juvenile delinquent in his youth No, I think we’ve got Judas pegged wrong. Perhaps, he was
just the opposite. Instead of sly and wiry, maybe he was robust
and jovial. Rather than quiet and introverted, he could have been
outgoing and well-meaning. I don’t know.
But for all the things we don’t know about Judas, there is one
thing we know for sure. He had no relationship with Jesus. He
had seen Jesus but did not know Him. He had heard Jesus, but he
did not understand Him. He had a religion but no relationship.
As Satan worked his way around the table in the upper room,
he needed a special kind of man to betray our Lord. He needed a
man who had seen Jesus but who did not know Him. He needed a
man who know the actions of Jesus but missed out on the mission
of Jesus. Judas was the man.
We learn a timeless lesson from the betrayer. Satan’s best
tools of destruction are not from outside the church; they are
within the church. A church will never die from immorality in Hollywood or the corruption in Washington. But it will die from
corrosion within. From those who bear the name of Jesus but never met Him and from those who have religion but no
relationship. Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew
the heart of Christ.
I close with this: Calling ourselves a Christian; calling
ourselves a Catholic Church, Catholic School, is a Big Waste of
Time; unless first we know the Heart of Christ, and unless we have
a growing alive relationship with Jesus Christ.
The choice is ours;
1. The Cloak of Religion
2. The Heart of Christ.
I pray we choose wisely

Breaking Down Barriers 3-15-2020

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

INTRODUCTION
I. The Gospel story points us to one of the main works of Jesus
– something we are called to do-
Breaking down barriers that divided the human family.
Some of these barriers are very real today.
II. First Barrier – was a Racial Barrier.
This woman was a Samaritan – Samaritans were
regarded as an inferior race; scum of the earth. Jews had
no respect for them; only distrust.
Jesus walked right through the Barrier like it did not
exist. He saw a person made in the image of God.
Centuries of History said they were adversaries. But
Jesus paid no attention.
She was a Human being hurting and needing some
help.
That’s all He saw!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      III. The Second Barrier – was a Social Barrier.
He was talking to a woman – they could not believe it.
This was an extremely male dominated society. Women
were definitely 2nd class citizens and worse.
To Jesus – Each and every person was important. He
shared some of his deepest spiritual insights with women;
this woman was important to Him.
IV. The Third & Final Barrier – was the Barrier of Religion
People were fighting over where the proper place of
worship was supposed to be. My mountain versus your
mountain; my temple is better than yours.
A Religious Tug a War!
This battle was not bringing people closer together. Jesus
emphasized that no one has exclusive claim to God – God
cannot be contained in one place or controlled by a group
of people. We cannot box up God in any one set of
Doctrines.
With Jesus the important thing was not where or so much how you worship. But does worship connect to our
hearts?
V. In Closing –
If we really want to follow Jesus – if we want to be the
church, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions
regarding these barriers that Jesus tried so hard to break
down.
1. Do we label people – this or that because of their
nationality or skin color. Because they speak a
different language. Because they are not like us –
labels that prevent us from getting to know them as
human beings.
2. A good question for us to ask as Church – Do we still
treat women as second-class citizens?
3. Do we use our religious beliefs as a club to beat up
other religions?
4. What barriers do we need to break down right now in
our families, in this parish that are dividing us? May our prayer this week – be this:
Lord, give us the courage to look at what divides us and the
strength to do something about these Barriers with your help.
AMEN.

The First Disciples of Jesus 1-26-2020

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

The time was now. Jesus decided he was ready to choose his
twelve apostles. Just advertising in the newspapers didn’t seem
thorough enough. So Jesus decided to hold an Olympics from which the
twelve would be chosen. The people came from all over. The
competition was fierce. Jesus had to judge all the events.
First came the prayer event. People had practiced and it showed in
the speed with which they could recite the words. Some articulated the
words with utmost precision. Some used big impressive words. Still
others expressed lofty ideas. But when it came time for a winner to be
selected, Jesus chose none. There didn’t see to be any heart in their
prayers. They were just words.
Second came the worship event. These contestants, too, had done
their homework. Some wore beautiful garments. Some used lots of
incense. Some emphasized music. Others incorporated gestures. But
again, when it was selection time, there was no winner. There didn’t
seem to be any heart in worship. It was too showy. Third came the teaching event. This was a prepared group. Some
came with elaborate posters. Some came with long, well ordered talks.
Some came with DVD players. Others came with their small groups to
demonstrate process. Again, no winners. There was no heart in
teaching. The methods seemed more important.
So, the Olympics ended. No winners, no apostles. Exhausted after
his long exasperating ordeal, Jesus went down to the lake to cool off and
relax. Then the miracle happened. He saw people fishing. Now there
were some people who put their hearts into what they were about. So he
chose them!
Remember… the first disciples of Jesus were ordinary people.
They weren’t great public speakers, scholars, kings or saints. They
weren’t presidents, theologians or ordained ministers. They were
fishermen. A tax collector. Common field workers. Who, by God’s
power, and their openness, made great things happen! What about us –
Could great things happen through us? Yes — By God’s Power and Our
Openness!